An editorial from The Times West Virginian
FAIRMONT, W.Va. — We always find it very unfortunate when a few people don’t follow the rules.
The vast majority of hunters in West Virginia respect nature and the animals who inhabit the wilderness. Whether it’s done for sport or for food or for trophies, the practice is done respectfully and within the established rules and the season.
When three deer were shot to death on the city’s West Side near Fairmont Regional Medical Center earlier this week, it was pretty disturbing on a number of levels.
They were shot by a small-caliber weapon, though police and DNR officers aren’t sure whether it was a rifle or a hand gun.
They weren’t taken down humanely, to start. No hunter with any values leaves an animal to suffer and struggle for life when they’ve inflicted fatal wounds. Hunters also don’t leave the animal’s carcass behind.
Though we can’t possibly know the motivation behind the crime, we feel like it’s more than likely an instance of killing for fun, just for the sake of ending an animal’s life.
We’re also very disturbed that in a pretty populated area and on a highly traveled road, a person carelessly shot a weapon. This cannot be a person who knows anything about guns or weapons, as a true hunter knows that there are risks associated with firing a weapon. Bullets can travel long distances without the shooter intending them to. In the darkness, it’s very difficult to aim with any accuracy, so firing a weapon risks the lives of other people and animals and property within a pretty large vicinity.
We, along with a whole community full of true hunters, hope that the person responsible for this crime is identified and held accountable. What the offender did was destroy animals for no reason, endanger a community with careless discharge of a weapon and give true hunters a bad reputation.
This wasn’t hunting. This was killing. And there is no fine line to distinguish the two. It’s a very wide, thick line that no true hunter would ever cross.